Monday, October 31, 2022

The Next Ship Home

Escaping war, drought, famine and religious persecution, immigrants have dreams of starting a new life. But first, these men, women and children had to make their way through Ellis Island. In 1902, Francesca and Maria escaped their abusive father and life in Sicily. Aboard a ship packed in a third class steerage filled with poor, sick and desperate passengers, Francesca did everything she could do to get to them America. A young woman named Alma recently started working at Ellis Island as a matron. She lives with her family on the lower east side of NY in a tight German community where unmarried at 21, she is already an old maid. Fluent in English, German and Italian, Alma plans to attend school and become a translator, a job not yet available to women. When Alma and Francesca meet during inspection, an unexpected friendship blooms. Alma helps Fran get a job and brings her home against her parents wishes although her older brother Fritz is instantly smitten. As we are immersed in the history of rampant discrimination, battles over unionizing disgruntled workers and severe mistreatment of the stereotyped immigrant it becomes shockingly clear these same issues are in the headlines today. It is equally daunting to see how quickly these families, only one generation American themselves, feared anyone different who wanted the very same things their own ancestors sought in America. This mesmerizing vivid work of historical fiction is a powerful reminder of friendship, family and the courage it takes to make change. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Friday, October 28, 2022

It Starts With Us

Lily and Ryle are finally divorced. They have settled into a somewhat amicable relationship where they can coparent their daughter Emerson and be in the same room at the same time without lawyers. One day Lily bumps in Atlas Corrigan, whom she was anxious and nervous to see again. All her feelings instantly came pouring back over her heart, exactly what she feared and expected. The two slowly and carefully start texting and agree to meet. It’s been 18 months since that fateful day and Atlas is quietly thrilled Lily is free from her broken marriage and has both a beautiful healthy daughter and thriving florist shop. After everything she went through no-one deserves it more. Naturally Ryle is furious as soon as he discovers their rekindled feelings. He can no longer control the anger that he mostly managed to keep at bay, always hoping he would get a second chance with Lily if he behaved. Atlas is also confronted with his buried past. Years after last having contact with his mother he must once again face painful truths and stand up for what is right. Continuing where It Ends With Us ends, this ode to young love and unwavering friendship is the perfect closure for Atlas and Lily. A little tiny bit repetitive but an easy and enjoyable read. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

There's Something About Merry

Moving back to her home town of Mistletoe, Idaho, Merry Winters is ready to restart her life. After surviving her share of more than a few dating disappointments she is ready to settle down on her family’s Christmas tree farm and find her soul mate. Confident that happily ever after is at her fingertips, Merry downloads the latest dating app. Knottygirl25 begins her matchmaking search and is instantly attracted to a Woodsman who crafts adorable snowmen. A chain of flirty messaging ensues at the same time a new foreman appears on the farm, Clark Griffin. While this responsible single dad is off the chart handsome he remains purely professional with Merry, not willing to risk his new job and friendship with her family. Purposefully keeping his distance, Clark often appears distant and cold. The truth is he would like more than anything a friend to confide in and cuddle with on these long winter nights. Way out of practice, Clark decides messaging anonymously on his dating app is a lot easier than a face to face. More than a little intrigued the two unknowingly arrange a date. As the sparks begin to fly it will take more than a kiss under the mistletoe to make this swipe a real love match. Filled with romcom mishaps and holiday hallmark, this is an easy breezy bit of seasonal fun. ⭐️⭐️⭐️

The Matchmaker's List

At twenty nine years old the pressure is on. Raina Anand has finally allowed her beloved Nani (grandmother) to set her on up blind dates until she finds “the one.” In this small traditional Indian community in Toronto gossip spreads fast and rumors even faster. After a tumultuous childhood Raina managed to find success and independence as a financial analyst working downtown. But as a single woman she is already labeled an old maid. Permission granted, Nani lines up the suitable bachelors. Making her way down the potential love list Raina becomes frustrated and discouraged as do most of her dates who were similarly coerced by meddling mothers! Desperate to appease her Nani and the aunties trying to find an eligible Indian man, she goes on exhausting date after date becoming frustrated and resentful. At the same time Raina is helping arrange a huge wedding affair for her best friend and cannot deny the unmistakable chemistry brewing with the best man (not on her list!) Raina learns the hard way that arranged marriages may not be so very different from the widely popular online dating apps her friends use. Learning to balance traditional values with modern day matchmaking turns into a priceless lesson of family, friendship and the pursuit of happiness. ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Thursday, October 20, 2022

Beautiful Country

In 1994, at seven years old Qian lands in New York on a plane from China with her Ma Ma (mother). A precocious little girl, she was anxious beyond belief to see her Ba Ba (father) who had arrived a few years earlier promising with every phone call a better life in the beautiful country, Mei Guo (America). In Chinatown the undocumented threesome struggle for years working in sweatshops, slowly learning the English language and American ways. With few friends and no extended family for support, what they once had perceived as success for themselves is now purely survival. Living in severe poverty with the threat of deportation hanging over their heads, the Wang family find little joy and much anxiety in America. Before the Chinese Cultural Revolution, her parents were distinguished professors - now they perform backbreaking manual labor. Qian quickly finds her only happiness in books at the public library, a treasured safe space. A voracious reader she quickly teaches herself English and learns to adapt, always feeling a great responsibility for her parents well being. After her Ma Ma overcomes a serious illness she is resolute that they cannot wait any longer to get citizenship. Today, working as a civil rights litigator dedicated to helping immigrants and other marginalized communities, Qian shares her journey in this magnificent memoir of resilience, faith and much love. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

When in Rome

Amelia Rose, AKA Rae Rose pop star sensation, has been enamored with Audrey Hepburn her entire life. Having watched voraciously with her mom as a child, these movies became a soothing balm for tough times. Right now Amelia is running away from her glamorous life. Desperate for a mental break before she actually has one Amelia sets out from her home in Nashville to Rome, Kentucky. It might not be the Rome of Audrey’s infamous movies but it will have to do. As she rarely drives herself anywhere these days, her old car proceeds to get stuck. It is late, it is dark and the most handsome guy she has ever laid eyes on is tapping on her window. When Noah Walker finds Amelia he seems less impressed with her fame and more annoyed by this disturbance on his precious front lawn and quiet life. One romcom mishap after another, Noah, a baker who runs the town's pie shop cannot ignore his gentleman’s upbringing and takes Amelia under his wing (or in his case, very large bicep). As Amelia learns to appreciate the simple things in life like making the perfect pancake, Noah must open his once broken heart to the possibilities right in front of him. This cozy small town deliciousness has all the ingredients for a perfect Fall romance.  ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Stories from Suffragette City

Horses, carriages and marching on foot. In 1915 women banded together all wearing white, carrying banners and signs, demanding equality. The parade was the largest and most famous suffrage movement at that time. It appeared triumphant but these short stories written by some of our most favorite authors reveal a variety of narratives ranging from struggling new immigrants, the poorest of children in the Berkshire Mountains and well heeled society ladies joining the march against the wishes of their powerful husbands. Each individual story culminates on this very special day when against all odds these tenacious, hard working women refused to give up. Mini Lesson: On October 23, 1915 over 25,000 women marched down New York City’s Fifth Avenue to fight for women’s suffrage. This fight which had begun over 65 years earlier would not come to fruition until the passing of the 19th Amendment in 1920, granting women the right to vote across the entire country. Although this amendment declares no one can be denied this right based on sex, many state laws deliberately restricted the black vote. It wasn’t until the Voting Rights Act of 1965 that all women could freely vote. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Friday, October 14, 2022

Smart Girl Summer

Abby Atkinson always had a plan, to follow in her father’s footsteps and become a physics professor at a prestigious university. On track for her PhD and tutoring on the side, Abby is now in her late twenties and finds herself completely lost. Her deceiving advisor stole all of her hard work, years of research now lost and hopes of attaining her goals shattered. The company she tutors for in Manhattan has a last minute request for the summer. A well paid job teaching math to the twelve year old daughter of a very wealthy man on his very fancy super yacht. Without too many other options and her bank account rather low, Abby sends off a quick yes and she’s on the next flight to Europe. Abby has been in school for so long she never questioned her path, never thought any other options existed. Traveling abroad for the first time is both luxurious and eye opening. It’s time to admit she really enjoys teaching and her instant chemistry with the unexpectedly down to earth billionaire is a breath of fresh air. Enjoyed every moment of this sailing romance adventure where a young woman gives herself a chance to follow her heart and put aside the expectations of others. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Thursday, October 13, 2022

Drunk in Love

Running the family winery in the Napa Valley is no easy task. Margot’s brother is the winemaker and when their beloved uncle passed away, all business duties fell on her petite shoulders. It hasn’t been easy but one thing is certain, Margot is a hard worker and will do anything to prove her worth. After returning from a short business trip, Margot stops in at The Barrell, her friend Sydney’s quaint bar/restaurant down the street. In walks Luke Williams, a new face in the familiar crowd and as sexy as they come. Their immediate connection leads to hours long conversation. After leaving the bar there is no doubt whether they will be together, only question is to whose apartment. A night she will never forget, Margot arrives at work the next morning on cloud nine. She is shocked when an hour later her brother introduces her to their new employee, drumroll please … Luke Williams. What began as a sexy one night stand becomes an incredibly confusing and tense situation. Surrounded by gorgeous rolling hills, mouthwatering bottles of wine and plenty of family chaos, Margot and Luke must figure out if they can work together, remain friends and face the burning truth. This wine filled flirty romance is perfect for many a happy hour. ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Lucy Checks In

Once upon a time Lucy Giannetti had it all, or at least she thought she did. As the hotel manager of a ritzy NY establishment, Lucy was well known throughout the industry as a thorough, detail oriented, savvy executive who happened to be the girlfriend of the owner himself, Tony Fielding. She dressed in fine suits and lived in a luxurious suite, keeping her unyielding Italian parents and difficult brothers at an arm’s length in NJ. When her entire life is turned upside down by scandal she loses her career, all her savings and is left with nothing but a broken heart. Two years later, she is 49 and desperate for a new beginning. Lucy accepts a position to manage Hotel Paradis in Rennes, France. What she finds is a dilapidated old chateau that hasn’t had a guest in over 80 years. A quirky group of tenants convince Lucy she is up to the task to both rebuild the hotel and her life at the very same time. Filled with the joy of second chances and everything deliciously French, this fast paced novel is a romance for the senses and the heart.  ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️


Only nine years old, Javier Zamora set out on a journey that would change his life forever. He left the comfort and relative safety of his grandparents home in El Salvador and traversed over 3,000 miles with a group of complete strangers to meet his parents in the U.S. With coyotes leading the way, the estimated trip of two weeks unexpectedly turned into months. Months during which none of his family knew where he was, if he was dead or alive. This brave little boy was blessed with the unwavering kindness he received from a mother who was traveling with her young daughter and a male friend from her town. The foursome quickly bonded. The unwavering care they showered on Javier helped him survive death defying boat trips, long desert treks, dehydration, hunger, horrifying arrests and most of all a crippling loneliness. Years later, this poetic, well educated and humble man shares his story to heal his own heart and enlighten others who watch and judge from afar. A memoir of a little boy who dreamed of reaching his parents and a world where the price of freedom is inestimable. Heartbreaking and beautifully written, Javier’s story will be with you long after the last page. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Thursday, October 6, 2022

The Witch in the Well

In the small town of F— two young girls become summer friends. Cathy lives on a neighboring farm and Elena comes from the big city every year to spend time with her beloved Uncle John. He lives on a large old estate they deem “the castle.” At 12 years old the two girls roam free, spending their days exploring the forest and swimming at the lake while drinking lemonade. As teens the girls drift, Cathy deeply resents that Elena has better things to do and does not come to F— anymore, while her life remains rather desolate. Years later Elena is a successful influencer and novelist. She finally returns to F— to clear out Uncle John’s estate when he passes away. Cathy has spent the last years obsessed and researching the local town archives of Ilsbeth Clark, a woman accused of witchcraft that drowned in the infamous well hundreds of years ago. A well that apparently many have lost their lives to since. The eventual reunion between the two old friends is bitter and awkward. As the summer slowly passes it becomes clear that Elena has a similar novel in mind initiating a nasty feud. Chock-full of witches, daemons and spirits, this creepy tale becomes deadly when the unimaginable truth is revealed. Perfect for Halloween!  ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Monday, October 3, 2022

Lessons in Chemistry

“Courage is the root of change—and change is what we’re chemically designed to do.” Elizabeth Zott proudly and rather stoically recites again and again throughout the story. It is certainly not her fault that the world in the 1950’s and 60’s is a patriarchal society that she does not fit into. Elizabeth Zott is the ONLY female chemist at Hastings Research Institute. Chemistry is all she ever wanted do with her life. As everything else felt upside down, science always made sense. When she unexpectedly falls in love (perfect chemistry) with a fellow scientist Calvin Evans, it is explosive. Unfortunately, life can be unfair and there is not always a happy ending. Elizabeth is repeatedly hounded by sexist superiors throughout her career. These chauvinist men simply cannot tolerate her intelligence and beauty. They will do whatever it takes to knock her down. Years later Elizabeth finds herself as a single mother and host of a hit television series called Supper at Six. Using chemistry and cooking to influence women across the country, the show becomes a smashing success. Daring to change the balance of power, Elizabeth makes many people uncomfortable with her direct honesty regarding issues women have been quietly suffering from for years. This novel is a unique, witty observation of a time in history when feminism was progressing at a snails pace. Filled with quirky, smart, wonderful characters - even the scenes that felt completely fantastical were still a joy.  ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️